How to ignore a show titled Tortured Ecstasies? Check out the upstairs space of Nicodim Gallery’s Los Angeles venue, currently presenting a solo exhibition by Katherina Olschbaur. Nine mostly large-scale oils on canvas demonstrate how the Austrian-born artist transforms her painstaking sketches into almost amorphous powerful creatures. Mythology and primal religion seem to spawn her striking, figure-based compositions.


With a human figure as the center of her visuals, Olschbaur stretches and enlarges the forms which seem to push beyond boundaries. With strong gestures, and generous, glossy paint, her line work takes life, as her subjects outgrow their limbs and become pulsating Transformers, born of a new, organic compound that releases them from the shackles of reality. Somehow, by flattening them with big sections of color, she imbues volume in shiny surfaces through gradients and light reflection accents. Fluctuating with perspective, the bodies loom in grotesque tenderness through layers of expressive paint as they engage and metamorphize within their dreamy theatrical universe. The artist atmosphere is questionable and the tension never wanes. —Sasha Bogojev